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Billing clients by credit card
Old 14th July 2006
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Gregg Sartiano's Avatar
 

Billing clients by credit card

Who here (esp. in U.S.) bills clients by credit card?

Who can 'run' a card vs. calling it in or paying by PayPal?

How much of a commission is taken?

How do you get the equipment?

What's the client response to "would you like to pay cash or credit?" i.e.: are there typically trust issues for the small businessperson (funny, no one has a problem handing a card over at the gas station...)?

I think I'm gonna invest in a credit card machine before I buy another mic, especially after reading the "Stupid things done to get money from clients" thread.
Old 14th July 2006
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
AdamLazlo's Avatar
 

Years ago (97 to 2000) I leased a Credit Card machine and it was expensive as hell. They took out 2% of every transaction. Using Discover or AmEx was 6%. The big advantage was being able to utilize Elecheck (or whatever it was called) to make sure a check would clear. I ended up buying out of the lease (5it was a 5 year contract) and that cost me about $1200 (pro rated against what I already paid them up to that point.

It wasn't worth it considering the very few times I actually used it for credit card transactions.

I can't remember the company's name but they contacted me initially about their CC services.

I know you can find/request used CC machines (electronic ones) and it's cheaper. Considering with PayPal it's around 3% I've just stuck with that these days... even still it's few and far in-between that people actually go with that option.

That's my experience... and one I wish I didn't learn.

It could be different these days regarding companies that offer such services but in conclusion it was a sink-hole for me. I probably paid more out to them than I made in CC transactions.

-- Adam Lazlo
Old 14th July 2006
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Credit card companies are evil. May they all rot in hell.
Old 14th July 2006
  #4
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XSergeantD's Avatar
 

we can if they don't have a record co for a PO.

Run a card

Stnd CC charge

call a CC company (not sure if your company has to be inc. or not)

Can't speak for the local studios, but we have no worries. many times the inquiring client asks if we take CC.
Old 14th July 2006
  #5
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djui5's Avatar
 

I had a CC machine in my mix room. Now that I've shut down the room, I'm trying to get out of it. Signed a 4 year lease, but am willing to give them the equip back if they let me go. I never billed a single thing on it, and was paying $100 a month. They were to take 3% of all transactions too.

Those companies are f'n insane. I'll never set up a CC machine again unless I'm operating a normal store or something. The company I signed with has no name on their building, is very standoffish when you show up at their offices. There are no decorations on the walls, it's really bare, just a huge warehouse with 10' walls and 30' ceilings. Really shady looking. The people are insanely rude too.

Unless you have a lot of clients asking for CC payment, I'd avoid it like a plauge. Use paypal, it's cheaper.

Also, if you do decide to get one, I'd call American Express (a lot of labels use their corporate cards) or Visa direct and see what you can get from them. Don't call one of those merchant services companies.
Old 14th July 2006
  #6
FOR UK - Abbey Business - had a deal with Streamline - £14.99 per month - free installation, they take a tiny percentage on credit cards and only 60p on debit cards, no other strings attached.. Thats how I got mine..

Carry on..

Old 14th July 2006
  #7
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Mark Warren's Avatar
 

Anytime you setup with a credit card company to accept cards, you give them access to your bank account, not just to deposit money, but to withdraw it as well.

Which means that if someone isn't happy with your products or 'services' they can charge back the amount on their card, which then gets taken out of your bank account.

Ever see that 8 page booklet with the little tiny print that comes with a new credit card you get in the mail? Probably not, but it spells out your card holder benefits. Sure there's things like free insurance on rental cars and other crap, but, it also spells out your rights as a card user in regards to products and services you buy with you card.

Usually just about any product or services you buy with a credit card that you're not happy with you can charge back as long as you have returned the product or not received the service, especially a lot of time it's even easier to this if the vendor is within a certain radius of your home address (i.e. it makes it harder for you to go on vacation in Hawaii and then say you weren't happy with your hotel suite at the Ritz and then charge it back).

So imagine you accept credit cards in your studio and someone gives you a deposit on the studio time using their credit card, and spends a lot of time in your studio and then midway through the project decides that they're not happy with how it's turning out and they walk away. They'll just call their credit card company and say they never received anything from you, and since you didn't give them the masters or a finished mix, that would be the truth.

The bank then will go and take the money out of your account first, and then the burden is on you to prove that you delivered as promised, an if you don't have a serious contract spelling out things like a 'non-refundable deposit' etc. etc. that money will go back to the cardholder, and you'll be screwed out of the time AND the money. Just having the signed receipt will not be good enough. To the bank it's no different than someone ordering a bicycle from Amazon and not receiving it, or receiving only part of it, like a bike without the wheels, and the client/customer doesn't have to pay.

THE SOLUTION???? VERY SIMPLE: Anyone with a major credit card and driver's license can walk into any bank in the USA and take out a cash advance on their credit card. You don't need a PIN or anything like that, just the credit card, and a driver's license. Most people are not aware of this.

Yes they will pay the higher 'cash advance' interest rate on those funds, but tough crap. Why should you pay 2%-6% and risk getting screwed out of time and money?? Let them pay the 18% cash advance rate and you then get 100% of the cash in your hands....

-Mark

P.S. Paypal is no better, people can complain there too and Paypal will mess with both your Paypal account and your bank account. Just read the horror stories at www.paypalsucks.com
Old 15th July 2006
  #8
I think I pay 10 bucks a month and they get 2.3 percent plus 25 cents per transaction or something like that. It covers visa, MC, amex, and discover. Without amex, I think I wouldn't have to pay the ten bucks per month. I can drop it anytime - no contract duration. I probably run a couple cards per month. It's pretty easy. I did have one time with my old service provider on the left coast when the money from a charge didn't get into my account and I had to make a few phone calls and wait a couple months, but they eventually tracked down the error and deposited the money.
Old 15th July 2006
  #9
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo
I think I pay 10 bucks a month and they get 2.3 percent plus 25 cents per transaction or something like that. It covers visa, MC, amex, and discover. Without amex, I think I wouldn't have to pay the ten bucks per month. I can drop it anytime - no contract duration. I probably run a couple cards per month. It's pretty easy. I did have one time with my old service provider on the left coast when the money from a charge didn't get into my account and I had to make a few phone calls and wait a couple months, but they eventually tracked down the error and deposited the money.

That sounds like my deal, too. Through Bank of America, who is my bank, too. They have access to my bank account already.

I used to use Rocky Mountain Bankcard Svs. No probs there, either. I can take diner's club, too!

I was at Kinko's today, and used one of their macs to set up a bit of paperwork. I put my Amex in a little slot by the G5, and it billed me for all my workstation use. I'm thinking that would be awesome. Maybe it can attach to the new dongle for Nuendo.
Old 15th July 2006
  #10
Lives for gear
I guess to each his own, but I think having a credit card machine is invaluable. I got mine on a three year lease paid off several years ago.

Sure it costs a few pc points on the charges....but the peace of knowing you are getting paid is well worth it. Sad commentary though it may be, I estimate that one out of two checks I cash bounces. Its almost a given today....and i wince when I have to take a check.

Fact...folks with credit cards will spend more on the session anyway. It also allows you to take deposits over the phone to secure dates right away.

And if like us you end up with a record company you can process cards from net sales and get full pop on CDs instead of wholesale to Amazon or the others..

It all adds up to me. I'm looking at wireless credit card machines for all the groups I work with.
Old 15th July 2006
  #11
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max cooper's Avatar
 

totally agree. If someone has no option but cash, they might really stress about overtime, whereas with a CC option, it might be much less of an issue.
Old 15th July 2006
  #12
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Mark Warren's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rufus13
Raise the rates for CC, and offer a discount for cash. You can't advertise the discount in the USA, but in the UK you can.
Got to be careful doing this, as it's against the merchant services agreement. Not that it's likely that someone trying to rent time at your studio is going to call VISA and complain that your rates are higher for credit cards, or that VISA may even care.

AMEX nails car dealerships on this all the time though. Some rich guy goes in and tries to buy a new Hummer on his AMEX card and they tell him they won't give hime the same deal or he has to pay more, and the guy calls AMEX and they put the smack down on the dealership.
Old 15th July 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
Dammit, I need to get paid one way or another. Grass and ass don't fill the tank.

A TRUE Gearslut can turn either of those commodities into cash...............
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